Freddie Blassie

Born in St. Louis, MO as Fred Blassman, he began wrestling in 1935, but did not make a serious run at it until the early 40s. When World War II began, Fred joined the Navy and while stationed at Port Huneme, CA he made his Southern California debut as Fred the Sailor. Fred was discharged in 1946 and returned to wrestling in the Midwest, gaining his first world title match in 1950 against Lou Thesz. In 1952 Fred returned to Los Angeles, dropping the Fred the Sailor gimmick and forming the team of Billy and Fred McDaniels, then in 1953 by himself as Freddie Blassie.

In 1953 Fred left Southern California for the South. In the South he was one of that area’s most loved heroes, winning the Southern Heavyweight Title 14 times. It was during this time that Blassie became recognized as a World Championship caliber wrestler. In 1956 he shocked his fans throughout the South by turning heel. Not only had he turned heel, he became one of wrestling’s most vicious heels of all-time. While he became the South’s most hated wrestler, he also became its biggest star.

In 1960, in what would forever shape wrestling in this region, Blassie returned to Southern California. He received one of the biggest pushes a heel had ever received. He defeated Edward Carpentier for the WWA World Title that Carpentier had held for four years, in June of 1961. During this time Blassie headlined countless sell out shows in Los Angeles. Wrestling in Southern California was now on the map thanks to Freddie Blassie.

Freddie Blassie held the WWA World Title four times before he joined the WWWF in 1964. Blassie worked programs with legends such as Pedro Morales, Bobo Brazil, Bill Watts, Killer Kowalski and then WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino during his time in the WWWF.

On Aug. 25, 1967, Blassie returned to Los Angeles. He promptly defeated Mark Lewin at the Olympic to become new NWA America’s champion. He then teamed up with Buddy Austin to win the WWA Tag Title. Blassie once again became Southern California’s biggest star.

By the 1970s Blassie was receiving so many cheers, the promoters just started booking him against heels and turned Blassie face. It was in 1970 that Freddie Blassie’s famous feud with John Tolos began, ending at the Los Angeles Coliseum in front of 25,847 fans, a California record at the time.

Freddie Blassie retired from wrestling in 1973 and became a manger full-time in the WWWF/WWF until the mid 80s.

-Steve Bryant

Source: Steve Yohe at

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